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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I live in a region where we are very underserved by Mac retailers. I'd really like to hear from anyone who has knowledge or experience about retailing with Macs: is it possible to start up a retail store as an Apple Authorized Reseller? What's involved, what are the dangers, what are the costs?

I know Apple Canada in particular has proven...hostile...to resellers in the past. Has this attitude changed at all? What's the latest scoop?

Cheers,
Aaron.
 

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Been there.


Its not that easy to become an Apple Reseller. Apple wants businesses with proven records of success and obviously some good working capitol so that you can actually have stock and not make Apple look bad by going out of business.

You can get information by visiting here.

You could start off by being an Apple Consultant as well and work from your basement at first. (Which is how a lot of Mac dealers start off)

Here's a bit more detail and requirements on being a reseller from Apple themselves. Its on the US site as I can't find a link on Canada's site. Some of the highlights:

Apple Reseller Authorization
Apple’s Reseller authorization is designed for businesses that offer a selection of software and hardware solutions sold at their retail locations, or the configuration and sale of specialized business solutions such as accounting by calling directly on customers.

Basic reseller requirements include but are not necessarily limited to the following:



Purchase at minimum $100,000 of Apple hardware each contract term (12 months).

Provide presale and post sale support at Reseller locations(s) or customer site(s) through a consultative “face-to-face” sales approach.

Offer hardware, software, and network customization to meet the needs of customers.

Develop and execute activities that feature Apple product.

---------

There's some info to chew on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info, ehMax. I'm requesting that info from EMJ now.

I had seen the stuff on apple.com, and wasn't sure whether it was applicable in Canada. It especially would seem strange since the size of our market is so much smaller than the US!

It seems the best way to go might be to start a "practice" and get Apple Authorization later. May I ask what happened in your case? I take it you found the process too frustrating.

Cheers,
Aaron.
 

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Our local Mac dealer just went out of business!! :(
With a population of around 33,000 it wasn't able to survive, I guess Macians went elsewhere. He also had a small store with little stock, if you wanted to see a new iMac or anything you either had to order it, or go to Kelowna.
An hour away in Kelowna (pop 100,000+) there are three places that sell Macs, London Drugs, Future Shop and Simply Computing (strictly a Mac dealer).

Do your research before trying to open up a Mac dealer/consultant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply Jordan!

In my region, with a population of about 200,000, there are ZERO Mac retailers. Well, except for Future Shop now, right? To me, they don't really count.

I'd really like to have a place that provided excellent pre-sales support, provide custom solutions for businesses (i.e. combine Linux servers with mac front-ends) and build a community of interest through user groups, seminars and community events. I've also got some ideas of how to keep (software) inventory low to non-existent. It would also make an excellent front for my currently miniscule consulting business.

If anyone has thoughts on how to build a business like that, I'd love to hear from you. Especially if you're well-financed, and looking to invest!
Cheers,
Aaron.
 

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If you do get authorized, you'll have to buy from a distributor at first (EMJ, Ingram) which mens reduced margins. Unless you have at security for $100,000 credit from Apple you won't be able to buy from them directly.

The best thing to do is to find a dealer and ask for an informational interview to get to know the ups and downs of becoming one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Indeed.

I thought I'd write back with what I've learned. I talked to an account rep at EMJ, who appear to be an exclusive distributor for Apple Canada. I was told that the official minimum purchase from them is $100K/year in hardware, but he did say that he'd be surprised if this was enforced because he knows many other resellers who aren't hitting this target.

In terms of profit margin, it's lousy on consumer (3-5%) and better on pro machines (10-15%). On accessories, it can get to 20-50%!

The EMJ folks were funny. After my general inquiry email, they were sending me credit forms to sign up for an account with them. They seemed fairly liberal about the authorization process, like "yeah go ahead and sign up, and we'll start shipping you the goods as you order them".

Actually, it seems to me that the true prohibition to starting a reseller is not Apple authorization, but getting retail space. In my town, there's an empty office on the main street (formerly occupied by ScotiaBank) that would be PERFECT. But for 1500 square feet of it, it would cost $24,000/month ($18/sq.ft). Outrageous!!

Surely there are cheaper places to go. But there's no way I could start like that. Does anyone know how it works out starting up with an online-only venture?

Cheers,
Aaron.
 

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Carbon Computing, started out of his basement some 7 or so years ago. No one says you need to have a retail location if you are a "consultant".

Go visit David Hellstern/MacDoc sometime. He has upgraded to his livingroom, dining room, garage, as well as his basement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice, all!

I've looked at becoming an Apple Consultant, but it seems strange to do it to sell their products when I have to pay to become one! Doesn't it seem a little steep to charge $495 US / year and "get a discount" on Apple product?

Is this what people who start, and people like MacDoc, do?
Thanks!
Aaron.
 

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Update on being a consultant

Hi

This is my first message here. I was just invited to the ASW by Apple by having completed one Apple exam. There I saw information about being a consultant. Do any of you have further insight if this is worth it for casual use? I live in Kelowna and am thinking of offering casual support - as my regular job is not that great.

Looking forward to being part of the community here :)

Pepe
 

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ehMax said:
Been there.


...

You could start off by being an Apple Consultant as well and work from your basement at first. (Which is how a lot of Mac dealers start off)
I'm curious as well about the Consultants Network. I had asked a few Ontario resellers about it, and the answers seemed to be lukewarm at best. I'd have thought that they would have been more supportive of the program, especially if they could rely on these consultants for outsourcing some of the services which the dealers themselves could not provide.

We've got a few Authorized Dealers and from what I gather, one or two Apple Consultants here on EhMac. How do each of you feel about the Apple Consultants? Is it competition or are they good for complimenting your existing business.

How does the rest of the business community here feel about Apple Consultants? Do you wish that there were more of them available? Have you ever used one, what was your experience like? Would you use them again? If you've never used one, would you if one was available for something that you required?

Love to have the feedback and I'm guessing that Aaron might be interested in the comments as well.

Thanks,
 

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jsbpepe said:
Hi

This is my first message here. I was just invited to the ASW by Apple by having completed one Apple exam. There I saw information about being a consultant. Do any of you have further insight if this is worth it for casual use? I live in Kelowna and am thinking of offering casual support - as my regular job is not that great.

Looking forward to being part of the community here :)

Pepe
Same with me. Did you do the ACHDS exam?
 

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Welcome Pepe!
Here's a man who knows how to use a search function!
:D
 

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aaron said:
Actually, it seems to me that the true prohibition to starting a reseller is not Apple authorization, but getting retail space. In my town, there's an empty office on the main street (formerly occupied by ScotiaBank) that would be PERFECT. But for 1500 square feet of it, it would cost $24,000/month ($18/sq.ft). Outrageous!!
I think you miscalculated the rent a bit. Most retail/commercial spots are quoted on a square foot rent (your reference to $18 per) but that number is for the year not the month. This would but the rent at about $2,250 net per month (which is about right for a downtown 1500 sq/ft unit.

But if you are still seriously considering there are a couple points to make sure you cover - one is have a lawyer look over the agreement, do not skip on this as most lease agreements are full of loopholes and goobly-**** that only a lawyer understands. Two is find out what else you are responsible for in the net rent - utilities and taxes aren't usually covered, the landlord can also ask for a portion of the sales over a certain amount, leasehold improvements, outside fixtures, parking, this list is endless ... and not something to jump into without looking and getting help for first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It is the retail location that's the problem....

Hi all,
Thanks for all your answers. It's been almost two years to the day since I opened this topic, and nothing has resulted. Strangely, that office space I had my eye on is still available, and yes indeed I'd misunderstood the rental cost. LOL

To provide an update: I applied for reseller authorization to Apple Canada and was rejected because I didn't have a retail location. What I did have was a great (if I do say so myself) ecommerce Web site and a unique way to market the hardware.

Almost as much as I would like to launch a Mac retail business, it's the very real need for legitimate Mac support in Durham Region that really drives me. I want there to be that central resource complete with pre-sales support, the latest parts on display, a service centre and a gathering place for the local Mac community. I honestly believe that this region of Canada presents a solid opportunity for the right business.

Some suggestions have come that I should partner with an existing retailer in the Toronto area and open a branch location. I'm not a retailer by trade so I don't know what the implications are.

Still, as I contemplate having to drop my Powerbook 45 minutes away for repair in Markham, I have to shake my head and ask "why is it so hard to launch a retailer for Apple?" I would love to hear from existing resellers.

Cheers,
Aaron.
 

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A friend of mine with a PC dealership is in the process of getting Apple authorization (based on my recommendation); he's been in the PC sales business for 10 years and has established relationships with at least two Apple distributors. The process didn't seem too onerous to him. Hopefully he'll be hearing back in the next week or so, but being a small town a yearly minimum will end up being a deal breaker--which would be a bummer, as there's currently no one selling Apple stuff anywhere nearby.
 

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I've read through this thread, but still don't entirely understand the idea of becoming a Consultant or Reseller first. I'm looking at selling Apple product for an existing PC reseller. As a consultant, can I buy Apple product and resell to my customers? Or are the customers' buying from Apple directly? And with regards to Apple authorized reseller, do you need a certification like the Consultants Network? I know these questions may be dumb to some of you, but I kind of got confused reading through this thread and the information on Apple's website.
 

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aaron said:
To provide an update: I applied for reseller authorization to Apple Canada and was rejected because I didn't have a retail location. What I did have was a great (if I do say so myself) ecommerce Web site and a unique way to market the hardware.

Some suggestions have come that I should partner with an existing retailer in the Toronto area and open a branch location. I'm not a retailer by trade so I don't know what the implications are.
If you're not a retailer at heart, then abandon the idea of a retail store.

$2,400 a month rent is outrageous -- you're going to have a fixed overhead of something like $5,000 a month -- that means you would need to sell about $70,000 of PowerMacs or $250,000 in iMacs and Minis every month to break even :eek: :eek:

Obviously this is an oversimplification, but its a reality that Apple prevents you from making good margin due to the AppleStore/Free shipping that any Canadian can take advantage of. Remember too that when you sell an iMac G5 for 3% margin, and take a Visa or Mastercard, the charge card company takes 2% leaving you with 1%. To you have to survive on getting good margins on software, accessories and labour -- and hope the customers don't buy the software and accessories mailorder. SO -- you end up working 40 hr. a week in the store and 40 more hours a week doing consulting, networking, repairs and installs to pay for the store overheads.

Wouldn't it make more sense to let the customers buy from Apple online, and then you work 40 hrs per week doing the consulting and networking, and put the money in your pocket?
 
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